The Dow Chemical Company and Ube Industries, Ltd. have agreed to form a joint venture to manufacture and market formulated electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in energy storage applications. The 50-50 joint venture, named Advanced Electrolyte Technologies LLC, is expected to be finalized later this year, pending regulatory approval.
In January, Ube Industries announced a new electrolyte development center for large Li-ion batteries in Europe (earlier post), and is targeting the development of functional electrolytes for Li-ion batteries for automotive applications. (Earlier post.) UBE has been a leader in the development of the concept of functional electrolytes, reporting on them for the first time in 1999. Functional electrolytes use small amounts of chemical additives mixed in a highly-purified electrolyte base to introduce a specific high-performance functionality, or role, in the electrolyte system.
Various compounds are already in use as electrolyte additives, including agents for anode passivation (SEI), cathode protection (cathode SEI), overcharge protection, wettability improvement, flame retardation, trapping of undesired components, and improving electrolyte conductivity, among many others.
Dow, TK Advanced Battery LLC and Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault established Li-ion manufacturer Dow Kokam in 2009 to develop and manufacture advanced energy storage technologies for the transportation and other industries.
The Dow-Ube joint venture complements the growth strategy of Dow’s Energy Materials business by adding formulated electrolytes to an integrated product portfolio that addresses the rapidly expanding energy storage industry.
The new joint venture will also allow Ube to strengthen its global supply network and improve cost competitiveness for its electrolyte technology outside of Japan. This will enable Ube to take advantage of other rapidly growing geographical segments with its world class formulated electrolyte technologies.
We are very excited to form Advanced Electrolyte Technologies with Dow. Combining Dow’s material science strength and global footprint with Ube’s expertise in electrolyte technology will deliver significant growth opportunities for both companies.—Shinobu Watanabe, Ube managing executive officer
The joint venture’s first manufacturing facility is expected to be built at Dow’s Michigan Operations’ site in Midland for startup in 2012.